Durban- The two whistleblowers who blew the lid on corruption and maladministration in Umzimkhulu, are moving from one place to another to avoid being killed.
Thabiso Zulu and Les Stuta drew attention and attempts on their lives when they spoke out at the funeral of their close friend and political ally, councillor Sindiso Magaqa, in September last year.
They had linked Magaqa’s death to his inquiries into alleged corruption where R37million was apparently allocated for the refurbishment of the Umzimkhulu Memorial Hall.
This matter became the subject of an investigation by the office of the public protector.
Zulu and Stuta told the Daily News on Monday, that they were shocked by Police Minister Bheki Cele’s move to review Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s recommendations to provide security for them.
This was after Mkhwebane called for security assessment on the men after many attempts were made on their lives.
“We have no hope of getting any assistance here. I have had a meeting with Premier Willies Mchunu in June about security threats to my life,” Zulu said.
“After the Moerane Commission into killings in the province, and after the security assessment, the public protector had recommended that we be provided with security, but Minister (Bheki) Cele decided to take the report to review. Why?
“How long will the review process take? The minister’s move leaves much to be desired,” Zulu said.
He said they were moving from one place to another - and relying on the assistance of friends for protection and safe accommodation.
“Our system is letting us down and the provincial government has no interest in helping us. It feels like we are being thrown to the wolves by the same system we fought for,” he said.
Stuta, on the other hand, questioned the review.
“How long is it going to take? Magaqa’s killers are still out there and I know there are hitmen who move around with my picture here in Umzimkhulu.
“Must we die before action is taken?
“Once we are killed, people will go to our families to pass condolences. If that’s how it should be, then so be it,” he said.
Thami Ngidi, the premier’s spokesperson, said Mchunu was aware of Zulu’s concerns.
He said subsequent to Zulu’s meeting with Mchunu, the matter was escalated to the Police Ministry.
Reneilwe Serero, Cele’s spokesperson, said the minister had “serious reservations” on the report’s findings and he had instructed his management to internally and procedurally launch an application for a judicial review.
Mary de Haas, KZN peace monitor, said Zulu and Stuta were compromised.
“The failure of the minister to provide security for two men who have risked their own safety and that of their families, even if he is proceeding with a review, is inexplicable. The refusal to grant Stuta and Zulu protection suggests that government leaders have no wish to expose corruption.
“They themselves are protected, at obscene costs to the taxpayers, by phalanxes of bodyguards which they may not even need, given that this type of protection is deemed a status symbol,” she said.